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Finding Internet Software

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Internet software can be installed before your computer is Internet-safe by using these three methods:

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  • Write it yourself (difficult and time consuming!);
  • Buy it on a CD, such as from a shop or from a computer club; or
  • Download it from the Web at a friend’s place or an Internet café, and then burn it to a CD.
This topic shows you how to find software on the Internet.

Finding the Software.

Many websites will offer you software - either for free or for a price - but many are too dangerous to visit. There are only a relatively few ‘safe’ sites. Here are a few of the safer places to start searching for software:

www.tucows.com

“The Ultimate Collection of Windows Software”. Use Search!

www.nonags.com

Free software - Use their Software List.

www.download.com

Part of the huge CNET site. Has excellent reviews.


There are other useful sites that specialize in particular types of software - tech tools, games, artwork tools, for instance - but be wary of them until you have checked them out. To check out a site: go to at least three similar but unrelated sites, and see if they link to, and recommend, the original site. If they do, then probably well and good. Even better, make sure that you have SiteAdvisor installed on your browser. You can get this at www.siteadvisor.com.

Downloading the Software.

It seems to be a point of honour amongst websites that every site has to have its own peculiar way of allowing you to download software from it. So finding the software is only the first challenge. Next, you have to find out how to get it. Here are a few hints:
  • Some sites keep their downloads in a section called ‘Downloads’‘System Administrative Tools’, which is usually only of interest to technicians, and can be hidden using the Control Panel (Control Panel/ Task Bar & Start Menu/StartMenu/Advanced/ Start Menu Items).
  • Some sites have a button or link marked ‘Click here to Download’;
  • Some sites offer you a list of downloadable files, leaving you to guess the ones you need.

  • The actual download procedure goes like this:

    Step 1: Prepare an ‘Installers’ folder
    Only rarely are the files you download the ones you wish to run. Instead, most of them will be ‘installers: special programs that do nothing else besides install useful programs on your computer. It is good practice to keep all of these installers in the one place, and periodically burn them onto CDs. So make an ’Installer’ folder somewhere convenient. If you are on your own computer, put it in D-Drive or in My Documents. If you are on someone else’s, use the Desktop.

    Step 2: Download the software

    Once you have found the link to the files you want, click it. Sometimes a new window opens up, with a note asking you to wait for a few moments, and sometimes the download starts immediately.DownloadFIS


    When the download actually begins, a dialog box usually opens asking you if you wish to open or save the file. Choose ’Save’ and press OK.DownloadFIS

    Another dialog box opens asking you where you want to save the file. Navigate to your Installer folder, and create a new folder there. Name this new folder after the software you are downloading. Open this folder, and save the file into it. Why do you do all this? The answer is that installers often have dumb names like ‘setup.exe’ or ‘sft_01_564.q.zip”, and by tomorrow morning, you will have no idea which installer does what. This is why you put each installer into its own folder, and name that folder after the software to be installed.

    Step 3: Make a Notes file
    Your next task is to make it easy to remember what the software you wish to install actually does. So while the file is downloading, create a Notepad file that tells you about the software, and where you got it from. To do this, open Notepad, and paste into it the URL of the website where you found the software, and a description of the software you are downloading. Usually, you can get a suitable description by copying some of the text from the website. Save this file naming it after the software, followed by the word ‘Notes’. (Henceforth, any time you see a file called ‘notes’, you will know that it probably describes a downloaded installer.)

    An example:
    Let’s suppose you are wanting to obtain some software called ‘Ajax Supertools’. You find the installer, and download it to: D:InstallerAjax SuperTools. When you are ready to install the Ajax Supertools software, you will know just where to find the installer, even though the installer may have a cryptic name like ‘ast_setup.exe’. Next, you need to be able to remind yourself of what the program does, so you create a notepad file with the URL and description, and call it ‘Ajax Supertool Notes.txt’. This file also goes in the D:InstallerAjax SuperTools folder.

    Paying for your software
    Some software is supplied free, while other requires payment in advance. Still other software is provided on a ‘try-it-and-pay-for-it-if-you-like-it’ basis. If you like it, and decide to keep it, then is the time to pay for it.

    Here is a quick guide:
    Commercial software—from the Internet or fromshopsThis is software you have to pay for in advance. You can pay for it by credit card, Paypal (www..paypal.com), or sometimes by cheque, money order, or even cash.
    Demoware & shareware(with limitations)Software that you can download and use for a certain period of time - after which it expires. As well as time limits, it may also have some features disabled.
    Shareware or honestywareSome shareware can be downloaded without time limit or disabled features. This is ‘honesty’ software. If you decide to use it, you should pay for it.
    DonationwareHonestyware with no fixed price. You pay what you can afford, or what you consider to be a fair price.
    Emailware, etcLike donationware, except the price asked is that you send the author an email, postcard or other minor gift.
    HomewareThis software is free for home, non-commercial purposes.
    Freeware and GNU LicenseFor most practical purposes, you can download and use this software any way you like.

    Payment over the Internet should only be made at a thoroughly secure computer. There, you can by credit card or through Paypal (an eBay company), which provides a fast, convenient and inexpensive method of paying and receiving money over the Internet. If buying by mail, or in a shop, there are of course many other options.

    Being able to find good software on the Internet is very important, so you have a variety of homework assignments for this lesson.
    Assignment 1: Visit Download.com
    Find their Security Centre, and read their recommendations as to good security software. Then find ‘HijackThis’ and visit its Home page. Finally, download the HijackThis software.
    Assignment 2: Visit NoNags.com
    Getting into Nonag’s ‘software list’ is quite an adventure - but is worth it! Look for ‘Antivirus Scanners’, and have a look at the Antivirus programs there. Download one of them. Then visit the home page of a second program, and download it from there.
    Assignment 3: Using search engines to locate software (1).
    You have heard that ‘Spybot’ is a good program, so you decide to check it out. Visit Google.com and MSN.com, and do searches on ‘spybot’, then open up and read all the top 20 links - including the ‘sponsoredlinks’ (advertisements). Many of these links are phoney, and one or two may be positively evil. See if you can figure out which is the ‘real’ Spybot (answer is below).
    Assignment 4: Using search engines to locate software (2)
    You are looking for an antiadware program. You know it is made by Lavasoft. Visit the top 20 sites. Which ones are real, and which are fakes?
    Assignment 5: Find and download a particular program.
    Find and download the following programs: AZZ Cardfile, Wimpwall, and Clipper. Store these away safely, because we will be using them later.


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